Determiners – Ø & THE and when to use them

This activity focuses on two determiners, THE and Ø. Students have to come up with the right article as well as to identify the grammar rule relating to each case. Once corrected, the exercise can therefore be kept as flash card by the students (keys below). 



Instructions : fill the 26 gaps with THE or Ø. Say which grammar rule applies to justify your choice. 

  1. …..1 Prime Minister Theresa May is …….2 leader of her country, but …….3 Queen Elizabeth is ………4 head of state.
  1. ……..5 United-Kingdom will soon no longer be part of ……..6 European Union, but it will always be part of …….7 Europe.
  1. ……..8 announcement of …….9 Brexit came as a shock for many people. Indeed, …….10 inhabitants of ……11 Scotland voted against leaving ……..12 EU, but it was not enough to change ……13 result of ……..14 referendum on ……..15 Brexit.
  1. ……..16 democracy is a fragile system. For instance, in France, …….17 Republic disappeared during ……… 18 Second World War, when ……..19 politicians decided to obey to ……..20 Nazi Germany.
  1. ……21 time is ……..22 money. Now is not ………23 time for you to spend ………24 money that I gave you.
  1. I am so tired that it is …….25 fourth time I read ……26 page 28 of this book.

Rules to be used for justification:

Ø is used:

  1. when referring to the concept, the notion conveyed by the word
  2. when a person’s name comes with a title (nobility, university rank, etc)
  3. for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Popular Republic of China…)
  4. for nouns which come with a cardinal number (one, two, three…)
  5. with plural nouns used to refer to a vague number of units (I saw cats yesterday) – specific, undefined cats
  6. with plural nouns used to refer to the whole category (Tigers are ferocious) – generic, undefined tigers

THE is used:

  1. with a nominal group of the form N of N, even with names of people or places
  2.  for nouns which come with n ordinal number (the first, the second, the third…)
  3. when the noun is clearly defined. This can be done in several ways:
  1. the definition is granted by the situation  : can you pass me the salt please?
  2. the definition is provided at the same time as the noun is mentioned : the woman that I met yesterday
  3. the noun is clearly identified because it has been mentioned before: I bought a book, a pen and two carrots today. The book was written in 1928.
  4. the noun is clearly identified because there is only one element which can be referred to: the sun
  5. common knowledge can provide the definition: I’m going to the tobacconist’s (i.e. the one that I usually go to, the one which is just round the corner). 

 


 

Keys:

I.

1. Ø Prime Minister Theresa May, rule 2: Ø when a person’s name comes with a title

2. THE leader of her country, rule 7: THE with a nominal group of the form N of N, even with proper nouns

3. Ø Queen Elizabeth, rule 2: Ø when a person’s name comes with a title

4. THE head of state. rule 7: THE with a nominal group of the form N of N

II.

5. THE United-Kingdom, rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns

6. THE European Union, rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns

7. Ø Europe, rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns

III. 

8. THE announcement of Brexit, rule 7: THE with a nominal group of the form N of N

9. the announcement of Ø Brexit, rule 1: Ø when referring to the concept, the notion conveyed by the word

10. THE inhabitants of Scotland, rule 9) b) :THE when noun clearly defined, definition provided at the same time as the noun

11. the inhabitants of Ø Scotland, rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns

12. THE European Union, rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns

13. THE result of the referendum on Brexit, rule 7: THE with a nominal group of the form N of N

14. the result of THE referendum on Brexit, rule 9) b) : THE when noun clearly defined, definition provided at the same time as the noun

15. the result of the referendum on Ø Brexit,  rule 7: THE with a nominal group of the form N of N

IV.

16. Ø democracy is a fragile system, rule 1: Ø when referring to the concept, the notion conveyed by the word

17. in France, THE Republic, rule 9) e) : THE when noun clearly defined, common knowledge provides the definition

18. THE Second World War, rule 8: THE for nouns which come with an ordinal number

19. when THE / Ø politicians decided, rule 9) e) : THE when noun clearly defined, common knowledge provides the definition or rule 5, Ø with plural nouns used to refer to a vague number of unit

20. to obey to Ø Nazi Germany. rule 3: Ø for names of countries, unless the name of the country is formed with common nouns. An adjective alone is not enough for a noun to be defined. 

V.

21. Ø time is money, rule 1: Ø when referring to the concept, the notion conveyed by the word

22. time is Ø money, rule 1: Ø when referring to the concept, the notion conveyed by the word

23. Now is not THE time for you to spend, rule 9) b) : THE when noun clearly defined, definition provided at the same time as the noun

24. THE money that I gave you, rule 9) b) : THE when noun clearly defined, definition provided at the same time as the noun

VI.

25. I am so tired that it is THE fourth time, rule 8: THE for nouns which come with an ordinal number

26. I read Ø page 28 of this book, rule 4:  Ø for nouns which come with an ordinal number

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